SAN MATEO (KCBS) – Plans to build a badly needed new jail in San Mateo County inched forward with the selection of a proposed new location in Redwood City’s industrial neighborhood. The Board of Supervisors was expected to approve funding by the end of the year.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

The site was selected after a nearly two-year search.

“It’s right across the street from the Redwood City Police Department,” described Sheriff Greg Munks. “And it is a light industrial area surrounded by some of the big, like, granite rock and those gravel places.”

Earlier, county supervisors rejected a proposal to build a new jail in downtown Redwood City.

“We have now found what we believe is a good site, it’s on a street called Chemical Way in Redwood City and it is 4.7 acres. It’s going to allow us to build what we need and possibly even stage it or phase it so that we don’t have to build it all at once and it’s going to allow us to relieve overcrowding in both the men’s and women’s jail.”

Munks described overcrowding as a major problem.

“Right now my jails are 140% of their capacity. They’re overcrowded. So we have two facilities that are severely overcrowded, one of those facilities, the women’s jail, is outdated, doesn’t have program space, doesn’t have adequate visiting space, so we really have a problem.”

The new jail would have room for 768 beds.

“We are at risk of lawsuit, we’re at risk of a judge coming in and putting a cap on our system which would mean we would have to release 200 inmates,” warned Munks. “So we’re in a crisis mode. So this jail is necessary to right-size our system.”

The new facility was estimated to cost around $140 million.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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